University Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree
University Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree
California State University, Los Angeles offers the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science. The specific bachelor’s degrees and academic majors are listed below. Minors and certificate programs are also available in many fields and are also listed below. Full descriptions of each of these programs, including specific information about admission requirements, curriculum, courses of instruction, and graduation requirements are presented in the Colleges & Departments section. Within each chapter, the administrative units offering the academic program are listed in alphabetical order. There is a Directory of Academic Programs at the beginning of the Directories chapter, near the front of this catalog. Characteristics of the different Bachelor’s degrees and the general degree requirements for all Bachelor’s Degrees at Cal State L.A. are described after the listings immediately below.
In addition, the basic information about undergraduate preparation for California teaching credentials is presented later in this chapter. The undergraduate and postbaccalaureate subject matter portions of each of the teaching credential programs are fully described in the appropriate academic department, division or interdisciplinary programs section of that Colleges & Departments section. All of the basic credential programs, the specialist and administrative credential requirements, and the Postbaccalaureate programs of study which prepare students for these credentials are all described in the College of Education portion of the Colleges & Departments section, with further details available within the Divisional portions of the Colleges & Departments section chapter.
Students are expected to familiarize themselves with all degree requirements and to consult an academic adviser on a regular basis.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree is designed to provide a balanced liberal arts education and general knowledge in a recognized discipline, interdisciplinary field, or areas of professional study. The Bachelor of Arts degree requires the satisfactory completion of 120 semester units.
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is designed to provide a balanced liberal arts education and a scientific, technical, or professional entry level of competence.The Bachelor of Science degree unit requires 120 semester units.
The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree provides a balanced liberal arts education with additional preparation in musical performance with emphasis on high performance standards. The Bachelor of Music degree requires 126 semester units.
Included in the total unit requirement for each of these degrees is a minimum of 48 semester units of general education courses, including 9 upper division semester General Education units in residence at Cal State L.A. For each degree a minimum of 40 semester units must carry upper division credit (courses numbered 3000-4999). Courses numbered above 4999 are intended for graduate students only and are not applicable toward bachelor’s degrees.
Catalog Requirements Under Which an Undergraduate Student Graduates
Unless an exception is requested under one of the provisions below, students enrolling at Cal State L.A. for the first time must meet degree requirements specified in the catalog in effect at the time of entrance. The catalog date is specified on each student’s credit summary and on the unofficial transcript available on GET.
Baccalaureate students who remain in attendance in regular sessions at any California State University campus, any California community college, or any combination of California community colleges and CSU campuses and thereafter at Cal State L.A. may elect to meet Cal State L.A. graduation requirements in effect at the time they began such attendance, at the time they entered Cal State L.A., or at the time of graduation from Cal State L.A. In this context, attendance means attendance in at least one semester or two quarters each calendar year, which may include Cal State L.A.catalog courses taken through a special session or Open University through the College of Professional and Global Education. Absence due to approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption in attendance if the interruption does not exceed two years. Absence due to approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption in attendance if the interruption does not exceed two years. Disqualified students retain their existing catalog privileges under the conditions outlined above.
All other transfer students and students who have not remained in attendance as described above will be held to Cal State L.A. graduation requirements in effect at the beginning of their most recent period of attendance at Cal State L.A. or, alternatively, at the time of graduation. Students who change to a new degree and/or major objective must meet requirements for the new degree and/or major in the catalog in effect at the time of change. If courses described under earlier requirements are no longer available, the major department or division may authorize or require appropriate substitutes.
General Education is an integral component of the requirements for the bachelor’s degree. Students who remain in attendance as defined above normally will meet General Education requirements listed in the catalog in effect at the time of entrance. However, they may elect to meet General Education requirements in the catalog in effect either at the time of entrance or graduation and need not meet major requirements from the same catalog. If courses described under earlier requirements are no longer available, appropriate substitutes must be selected from the current list of courses approved for the area involved.
Time Limits on Major Requirements for Bachelor’s Degrees
A department, division or school may specify that no subject, unit, or grade credit be granted for specific upper division courses offered by that department, division or school to students who completed such courses more than ten years before the date of their bachelor’s degree. Courses with time limits are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and on the major program advisement sheets submitted by each student’s major department, division or school to the Graduation Office. When a Cal State L.A. course is so designated, the restriction also applies to equivalent courses transferred from other institutions. Students may petition for and, in extraordinary circumstances, the major departments, divisions, and schools may grant permission to validate by examination such an expired course with the concurrence of the department, division or school that offers the course or its equivalent. For all requirements, election of any catalog will not extend beyond ten years after its designated academic year.
Timely Progress to Degree Completion for Undergraduate Students - Milestones and Advising Guidelines
(Senate: 10/20/20; President: 11/5/20)
This policy is designed to provide clear guidelines that will help students graduate in a timely manner, remain in good standing with financial aid, and in compliance with CSU policies about time to degree. It also provides information about the role that advisors and the University play in supporting students along the way.
First and Second Years
During their first year, freshmen will be encouraged to explore their major options. Students who have selected a prospective major should validate their choice through their coursework, interactions with their departments, and engagement with other campus resources, including the Career Center and student clubs and organizations. Advisors will support students throughout this process. They will proactively identify and support students who are off track and help students select and affirm their major and degree pathway by the end of their second year.
Third Year and Beyond
When first-time freshmen reach their third year, and transfer students are in their first year, they will have declared a major. Advisors and faculty will encourage students to explore their major more deeply through coursework, research, scholarly and creative activities, and by participating in co-and extra-curricular activities that will prepare them to embark upon a career or pursue a post-baccalaureate degree.
By the time first-time freshmen reach the second semester of their third year (and transfer students their first year), students should be working with advisors to ensure that they are completing degree requirements needed in order to apply for graduation in the fall of their final year.
Students are expected to meet the following milestones along the pathway to their degree:
Advising for First-Time Students
First-time freshmen and transfer students are required to participate in academic advising before the beginning of their first year at Cal State LA
First-time freshmen are required to meet with an advisor during their first year to validate that they are on the right path and/or to explore alternatives.
Declaring a Major
First-time freshmen shall declare a major by the end of the second year; an option or concentration within the major must also be declared at that time if applicable.
First-time freshmen who are pre-majors and are not on track to be able to complete their major specific criteria by the end of their second year may be granted an extra semester under the following conditions:
- If they need an additional semester to pursue a major in their home college
- If they need an additional semester to complete pre-major requirements for a different major within their home college
Students who are not able to meet major specific criteria for a major in their home college will be referred to the University Academic Advisement Center as “exploring” students to find a major that they can complete in a timely manner.
Changing Majors or Adding a Major or Minor
(i.e., changing degree objectives)
- Students may only change degree objectives if they can complete those requirements in six years (first-time freshmen) or four years (transfer students).
- Changing majors in or after their third year (for first-time freshmen) or in their first year or later year (for transfer students) is permitted under certain circumstances. Students seeking to do so should be able to complete their degree requirements within six years (for first-time freshmen) or four years (for transfer students). They should meet with an advisor to review a degree plan and discuss career goals. The advisor shall review and approve the degree plan to ensure that it does not exceed these limits.
Preparing for Graduation
- First-time freshmen should apply for graduation during the fall term of their fourth year if they are planning to graduate in four years (during the fall term of their second year for transfer students);
- First-time freshmen who have not applied for graduation by the end of their fifth year and transfer students who have not applied for graduation by the end of their third year may be required to meet with an advisor to agree upon a timely graduation plan. In rare circumstances, should the advising plan prove unsuccessful, the University may initiate additional actions designed to facilitate graduation, including the following:
- Identification and implementation of appropriate course substitutions that will help the student complete degree requirements;
- Limiting students to one major that can be completed in a timely manner;
- Restricting enrollment to courses required to graduate in the major for which graduation is most likely to occur in a reasonable time;
- In the rare case of students who have met graduation requirements but have not applied for graduation, the University may automatically graduate them; such students will be charged graduation fee.
Exceptions: Some students, such as students who are not able to be continuously enrolled, or students who are unlikely to meet graduation requirements for their current majors, may require an exception to the limits in this policy. Students requesting an exception to the limits in this policy should file an appeal for an exception to Academic Policy to the AVP of Undergraduate Studies. The appeal must include a rationale, such as specific circumstances beyond the student’s control, and an advisor-approved plan to graduate.
Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 30 semester units, including at least 24 upper division units, 12 units in the major, and 9 units in upper division general education courses, in residence at Cal State L.A. for the baccalaureate. Credit earned in special sessions may be applied toward this residence requirement. However, only 24 residence units may be earned through Open University. Credit earned in extension courses or by examination may not apply toward the residence requirement.
In addition to meeting total unit requirements for graduation, students must also satisfy specific scholarship requirements. These include achievement of a minimum 2.0 grade point average (C on a scale in which A=4.0) in all units attempted, including those accepted by transfer from another institution, all courses required for the major, all courses used to meet General Education requirements, and all units attempted at Cal State L.A.
Introduction to Higher Education Course Requirement
NOTE: This requirement must be completed no later than the second semester in attendance at Cal State L.A.
All undergraduate students who do not have a bachelor’s degree and enter Cal State L.A. Fall 1997 or later, and who are subject to the 1997 and later GE requirements, are required to complete an introduction to higher education course. Freshmen meet this requirement by enrolling in a 100-level course offered by the college that offers the student’s major. Undergraduate transfer students who entered Cal State L.A. Fall 1997 or later, and who are subject to the 1997 and later GE requirements, are required to complete an introduction to higher education course. Freshmen meet this requirement by enrolling in a 1000-level course offered by the college that offers the student’s major. This course, which must be completed no later than the second semester of residence at Cal State L.A., introduces students to the following aspects of the University: mission, Cal State L.A. learning outcomes, history, structure, policies and procedures, faculty expectations, resources and skills necessary for success, and content specific to the disciplines in the college in which the student is majoring. Special sections of the 1000-level course, UNIV 1010, are offered for undeclared students. Students should consult their academic advisers before enrolling in the courses.
Written English Competency Requirement
(Senate: 4/3/84; 9/23/92 [EA], 5/21/96, 10/14/15 [EA], 5/9/17; President: 4/19/84; 11/18/92, 8/12/96, 1/27/16, 5/24/17; Editorial Amendment: 8/01, 2/8/18 [EA])
All CSU students subject to degree requirements listed in the 1977-78 and subsequent catalogs are required to demonstrate competence in writing skills as a requirement for the bachelor’s degree. The development of competence in written English is a key institutional learning outcome that depends on the active participation of all University faculty. The main responsibility for teaching English Composition has historically resided within the English department, but because the University’s written English competency requirements span a student’s academic career, all faculty play an important role in helping students become effective writers.
At Cal State L.A., undergraduate students demonstrate competence in written English by meeting the following requirements:
Lower Division Writing Requirements
Completion of the year-long course sequence or the one semester course or a transferrable CSU A2 Written Communications course with a grade of “C-” or better satisfies the first-year writing requirement. Completion of an approved Critical Thinking/Composition (GE A3) course or a transferrable CSU A3 Critical Thinking course with a grade of “C-” or better satisfies the Critical Thinking/Composition requirement.
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
Cal State L.A. students pursuing the baccalaureate who are subject to requirements of the 1984-85 or subsequent catalogs are required to satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The GWAR is normally met by passing the Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement course with a grade of “C” or better. They may also satisfy it by successfully completing a university approved upper-division university writing course that has received a GWAR designation; students who previously satisfied the GWAR by passing the WPE under the prior policy will have also satisfied this requirement. (click here for a list of GWAR courses)
Writing-Intensive (wi) Courses Requirement
Writing-Intensive courses are defined in the policy “Definition, Philosophy, Student Learning Outcomes and Criteria for General Education Breadth Requirements”.
Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement
Students will be required to complete successfully at least one upper-division course in their major degree program that focuses on teaching the practices, strategies, expectations and conventions of writing in English particular to their disciplines. Completion of GE Block A is a prerequisite for this course. Satisfactory completion of the Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement with a grade of “C” or better meets the graduate writing assessment requirement.
Summary of Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
Total Units Required for Degrees:
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) 120 units
- Bachelor of Music (B.M.) 126 units
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) 120 units
Note: Students receive no credit toward a degree for any course in which they do not earn a passing grade.
Writing Skills Requirements for all Bachelor’s Degrees:
- a minimum grade of C* in ENGL 1005B or ENGL 1010 , and
- A passing grade in a course that satisfies the GWAR (Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement), and
- a minimum grade of C in an upper-division writing course designated by the major.
Note: * A grade of C- or better is needed to satisfy the GE requirement for these courses. This does not apply to meet the prerequisite for courses that require these courses to be completed with a grade of C or better.
Grade Point Average (GPA):
Minimum C (2.0) average in:
- all college work attempted
- all courses attempted at Cal State L.A.
- all general education courses
- all courses required for major
Required Distribution of Units for all Bachelor’s Degrees:
48 units, including:
- 9 in residence
- 9 in upper-division general education courses
Major Subject Area:
Varies by major. Some majors require a minimum grade in each course that is used to fulfill major requirements. Students should consult with their major department for major-specific requirements.
40 units minimum
30 units at Cal State L.A. including:
- 24 upper-division units
- 12 units in a major
- 9 units in general education
Introduction to Higher Education Course
Preliminary Evaluation of College Work Completed Elsewhere
College work completed elsewhere is evaluated in terms of its relevance to Cal State L.A. course offerings and degree requirements. Preliminary evaluation information is sent to all new transfer and readmitted students at the time of notification of eligibility for admission to the University. A complete evaluation of transfer work is available on GET for all new transfer and readmitted students during their first semester of attendance. The evaluation identifies general education and graduation requirements met by transfer courses and transfer unit credit accepted. For readmitted students, it also identifies general education and graduation requirements met by Cal State L.A. courses. Students should review their evaluation carefully, consult their academic department promptly if they do not agree with or fully understand all information on the evaluation. The determination of the catalog governing graduation requirements is explained below.
Special Major for the Bachelor’s Degree
The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree with a Special Major allows selected students an opportunity to pursue individualized programs of study if their academic and professional goals cannot be met through existing degree programs, or combinations of programs (i.e., majors, minors, etc.), at Cal State L.A. or other CSU campuses. The Special Major consists of a program of study in two or more disciplines developed in consultation with faculty members from the respective departments. See the University Programs section of the Colleges & Departments section for details about these degree programs.
Multiple Majors and/or Degrees
Students may earn more than one baccalaureate degree, (e.g., two B.A. degrees, or both a B.A. and a B.S. degree). Students may also earn a baccalaureate degree and a graduate degree, (e.g., B.S. and M.S. degrees) through select integrated degree programs. In such programs, degrees are awarded when the requirements for both the bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are met. Both degrees are awarded at the same time.
Students who wish to have multiple majors and/or degrees listed on their diploma and transcript must:
- Fulfill department/division/school requirements in the multiple majors and/or degrees;
- File a request endorsed by the multiple departments, divisions, and/or schools; and
- Be approved and recommended for graduation by the faculty of each major department, division or school granting the majors and/or degree(s)
Maximum Number of Majors and Minors
It is expected that students will complete study toward their baccalaureate degree in no more than 120% of the units required by their primary degree program, including a second major and/or any minors. Undergraduates may declare up to (a) two majors without a minor (b) one major and two minors.
With the approval of the proposed department(s), students wishing to exceed the unit limits - i.e., changing majors or the maximum number of majors or minors - may petition the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for approval.
Change of Major and Dual Major
A change of major or the addition of a second major shall normally be allowed as long as the student can complete the new major or second major in no more than 120% of the units required for the student’s current baccalaureate degree counting only degree eligible units. Students should be made aware that a change of major or the addition of a second major will require adjustments be made to their degree plan and may delay graduation.
Students seeking a second baccalaureate from Cal State L.A. may qualify for graduation with the approval and recommendation of the faculty upon completion of the following:
- Residence and scholarship requirements then in effect;
- A major program as specified by the major department;
- Completion of a minimum of 30 semester units in residence beyond the requirements of the first degree. The 30 semester units in residence must include at least 24 units in upper-division courses, at least 12 units in the second academic major, and 9 units in general education if applicable.
In accordance with the revisions to Title V approved in 2011, a student who has previously earned a baccalaureate or higher degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or has completed equivalent academic preparation, as determined by the appropriate campus authority, shall not be required to undertake courses, including General Education, other than those that are specifically required to complete the current major within the degree program.
Post-baccalaureate students who are not deemed to have met General Education requirements upon matriculation must complete the following G.E. requirements if they were not completed as part of the first degree:
- 12 semester units in each of the three areas: natural sciences and mathematics, humanities, and social sciences, for a total of 36 units. Of these 36 units, students must complete 3 upper-division units in each of the three areas, a requirement which can be met by the upper-division General Education themes. Transfer courses will be evaluated as to meeting the GE Blocks as a whole and course by course comparability is not required.
- Statutory requirements: U.S. History, U. S. Constitution, and California state and local government.
- Diversity requirement: two G.E. courses designated as “diversity” courses.
- Any University requirements not previously satisfied.
Units included in a second baccalaureate program may not be applied to a graduate degree. Candidates for second baccalaureates are eligible for the Dean’s List and other academic honors based on the same criteria as candidates for first degrees. A second baccalaureate candidate may graduate with honors according to the same criteria as candidates for first degrees, with the grade point average computed on all units attempted in residence at Cal State L.A.
Although not required for a baccalaureate, minors are available in many fields that will help strengthen students’ preparation in areas related to their major field or to career choices. A minor consists of a formal aggregate of courses totaling 12 or more semester units. At least 9 semester units must be upper division and taken in residence at Cal State L.A. A minimum of 12 units must be distinct from the core requirements in the student’s major but may overlap with the electives in the major. A minimum grade point average of 2.0 is required in the minor program. Students must get approval from an advisor in the minor department in order to declare a minor. It is essential that this advisor verify that the courses used to satisfy the minor are aligned with the criteria stated above. The minor field will be noted on the student’s transcript and on the student’s diploma if the individual program has been approved by the offering department/division/school and is completed at the same time as or prior to the work for the degree itself.
Credit Certificate Programs
Certificate programs are designed to augment University curricula by providing specialized instruction and training within units than a degree major. Cal State L.A. offers credit certificate programs that are open to qualified undergraduate students. Additional postbaccalaureate and graduate level programs information can be found in the Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Studies: General Information chapter Individual certificate program requirements and required courses appear in the program listings of the academic departments, divisions, schools and colleges that offer them.
Undergraduate Credit for Graduate Courses
Under special academic circumstances as specified below, an academic program, department, division or school, may approve the granting of baccalaureate credit for 5000-level course work to a maximum of two courses not to exceed a total of 6 semester units. Academic credits earned under this rule may not be used to satisfy requirements towards M.A. and M.S. degrees awarded by California State University, Los Angeles. Additionally, the following conditions must be met:
- Senior standing (completion of 90 semester units) at the start of the term in which the course will be taken;
- a grade point average adequate for admission in classified standing to the master’s program in that major;
- permission of the instructor teaching the course, the student’s advisor, and the chair or director of the department, division or school offering the course.
Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students with 90 semester units completed may take for graduate credit a maximum of 9 semester units in courses beyond the minimum requirements for the baccalaureate degree, provided they have maintained a grade point average of 2.75. Graduate credit is allowed for courses numbered in the 4000 and 5000 series only. Enrollment in any course for which graduate credit is requested must be approved in advance by the instructor teaching the course, the student’s adviser and the coordinator/chair/director of the program/department/division/school offering the course.
The approved application must be delivered to the Graduation Office, Administration 409, during the semester before that in which courses are to be taken.
Application for Graduation (Degree Check)
Once a minimum of 90 semester units is earned, students may apply for graduation. Application for graduation (degree check) is made on a form available at the Cal State L.A. Graduation Office Website, academic department/division/school, the college advisement centers and at Enrollment Services in Administration 409. These forms are available five days prior to the application filing period. Candidates take their completed application form for payment to the Cashiers Office. Once payment is made, candidates take their application to their department, division or school for approval and processing. Filing periods are published in the Graduation Information section of the Schedule of Classes.
Students arrange to meet with their faculty adviser who will complete the Bachelors Degree Worksheet and approve the candidate’s major program. The department, division or school will forward all documentation to the Graduation office for processing. The Graduation Office notifies students of the receipt of their graduation application and supporting documents.
Graduation check results are sent to the students in the mail prior to their final anticipated semester. Students who are enrolled in the semester they expect to graduate but do not complete all degree requirements will have their graduation application “automatically” transferred to the following semester for processing. Students who do not complete all requirements for the degree within the anticipated graduation date or the additional grace semester following the requested graduation date must reapply for graduation. All questions regarding the graduation check or final results are to be directed to the student’s major department, division, or school.
Degrees dates are posted at the end of the quarter in which all requirements are met.
Commencement ceremonies are held for students who have applied to complete degree requirements. Information bulletins about commencement activities are mailed to the home address of those eligible to participate and are available on campus at college, department, division, and school offices and Administration 409.
During Commencement Exercises, degrees are ceremoniously conferred on the candidates by the President of the University. Although each candidate receives a diploma cover during the program, the actual diploma is sent several months later. Students should be aware that degrees are not officially awarded until they are posted on their permanent academic records, which usually occurs within one quarter after their anticipated graduation date.
Credit for Demonstrated Learning, Knowledge, or Skills Acquired Through Experience
Cal State L.A. grants up to 6 semester units of undergraduate nonresident academic credit for prior learning, knowledge, or skills-based experience that has been documented and evaluated according to campus policy. Students should be aware, however, that policies for earning credit for prior learning vary among CSU campuses.
Cal State L.A. offers a range of Cooperative Education courses carrying different unit values. The Cooperative Education program provides educational enhancement by integrating classroom studies with related on-the-job experiences. With department, division or school approval, students may earn a maximum of 9 semester units of elective credit toward an academic major or minor, including a maximum of 6 transferred semester units. A maximum of 12 semester units earned in cooperative education may apply toward a baccalaureate. With department, division or school approval, from 1 to 3 units of credit can be earned per semester, based upon a minimum 10 hours per week of approved work experience for each unit of credit. Cooperative education may be offered in any department, division or school. For details see the Colleges & Departments section.
Internship in Public Service
The Internship in Public Service program combines individual instruction with practical experience in government agencies and quasi-public enterprises. Although enrollment usually is restricted to Political Science majors, non-majors with appropriate background and preparation may apply. The program operates similarly to the Cooperative Education program, except that the maximum 4 semester units earned may apply only to upper division free elective credit rather than toward the major. A qualifying civil service examination is required for admission to some internship programs. Information about opportunities and qualifications may be obtained from the coordinator in the Political Science Department.